It was our 3rd home visit in Bulogo of the day… the afternoon ripe with the sound of the African sun warming the fields as we pulled up to see Annet outside of her home working with banana leaves while her daughter was under the umbrella- like shade of a banana tree putting the finishing touches on the most beautiful hand woven palm branch mat. Freshly picked maize cobs adorned Annet’s front yard- some full of plump butter yellow kernels for roasting, and others stripped of the kernels which lay in a giant pile to the side waiting for the sun to dry them inside and out before being pummeled into flour for market.
Annet is 32 years young, with 4 children ages 16, 14, 10, and 8. Three are girls, and one boy. I was struck by the beautiful chartreuse and yellow patterned dress she was wearing, especially the small candle with a flame inside one of the inner circles- the flame glowing and burning bright, like her future thanks to the Street Business School courses she has completed under the protective mango tree in town.
A plastic rosary adorned Annet’s strong neck like a halo of spiritual encouragement. We squatted on a small ledge outside of her thatched roof kitchen and exchanged probing questions with heartfelt, quiet-voiced replies. The sort of answers given by someone wholeheartedly believing- and wanting- the listening audience to be larger than the sole interviewer.
Annet, I learned, began her first business with 5,000 Ugandan Schillings. – about 1.50$. She purchased supplies to weave 3 traditional style mats, which she ended up selling and reinvesting the profits to launch her second business of selling plastic shoes. Who doesn’t need plastic shoes? Smart business investment. She told us that after her business training, she decided to rear goats in the village in order to save up the first 5,000UGS to launch her mat- making business. Taking one week to weave a mat from start to finish, we were so impressed with her ability to take things one step at a time, and develop her skills one day at time– knowing she would increase her speed and design diversity as time came to pass.
Such an interesting parallel to life- taking things one step at a time, and being involved with people, one person at at time. As I was jogging the other morning, I heard a message reminding me ,
” we cannot fix everyone, or everything, but we can help someone, or something. “
Start where you are.
Have you reached the point in life where you are done “making a point” and would like to “make a difference” ?
“I was feeling a bit lazy, and weak… but now, I am out of my comfort zone, ” shares Annet when I asked her to share how BeadforLife’s training has helped her in life.
The comfort zone. Safe place to be, but spiritually impoverished. If we rest in the places that are only familiar to us, how will we ever grow? How will we give ourselves an opportunity to evolve and carry out a purpose bigger than ourselves?
I purchased Annet’s green and white checked palm branch mat at the end of our interview, appreciating her hard work and the beauty of the time and dedication represented by each folded branch. This palm branch mat is like an organic tapestry, telling the story of her former life being folded over, and made bright and new. I am so excited to have this piece of art to share with others and remind me continually to challenge my personal comfort zone. For it is in these times of discomfort that our wings are stretched allowing us to fly a bit higher, soar a bit further, and rise a bit taller.
If you would like to consider taking a small step today and step outside of your comfort zone, visit : http://vegas.ignite1million.org
” it only takes a spark to light a whole blaze”- lyrics by Unspoken, “Start a Fire”
to be encouraged musically, please listen to these soul-lifting lyrics of Start A Fire! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this song!!!! It starts with each one of us!